Aswan is a lovely contrast to the hustle and bustle of Cairo Egypt, a beautiful lake and riverside city that has a nice chill vibe you’re sure to enjoy. The best time to visit Aswan is in late fall through winter, the weather is lovely, and the greenery and flowers are blossoming with a slight cool breeze while on the water, if you’re hitting more than one spot on your trip, consider putting Aswan at the beginning or the end of your trip for recovery from jet lag, or all the running around you’re going to do!

Things to do in Aswan Egypt

Aswan is the southern port region of the Nile river and is a true oasis in the desert. If you’re lucky enough to drive into the city, you’ll marvel as the desert landscape turns to lush greenery. Aswan is also one of the hottest climates in Egypt too, bring that hat and hand fan! The water is beautiful and the Aswan High Dam that created Lake Nasser is quite impressive. You can easily spend a few days in the area and visit all of the temples and islands, do some shopping in a colorful Nubian village, stay on a houseboat and enjoy the river.

Maybe you’ll get lucky and spot the crocodile god Sobek, or the goddess Isis near the Temple of Philae. (Sadly, there are no longer crocodiles in the Nile due to the Aswan High Dam, there are several other negative side effects from the dam, but you’ll find out about those from any guide along the Nile)

Shopping in this area is a favorite, a few extra cool places are:

  • The Aswan Market: a great place to find just about everything from groceries to spices, and clothes and cloth, among other fun things as well.
  • Sharia el Souk: a bead and jewelry shop located in a shopping area with cafés, I like to walk and shop and stop at cafés, makes for a chill shopping experience and I get to feel like I got to know the area a bit better.
  • Darwish Cotton Store: all your fabric needs, from scarves and towels to shirts, dresses, and bedding. I love buying Egyptian cotton sheets in Egypt, I think of my trip every time I slide into those smooth sheets and snuggle up!
  • Old Shop Aswan: a great place to find unique and antique pieces, they sell mostly jewelry and other cool souvenirs.

Best Cafés:

  • Peacock Coffee Shop: great cuppa joe 62 Al Nile Street, Sheyakhah Oula, Aswan 1
  • King Jamaica Restaurant & Café and Breakfast: very fun interiors with great food, great any time of day Elephantine Island, Sheyakhah Oula, Aswan 1
  • Cilantro Aswan: Coffee, tea, ice cream, and light bites Kornish Al Nile, Sheyakhah Thalethah, Qism Aswan
  • Makani Restaurant: a local favorite with a great view, go for a sunset dinner Imam Al Daaeri, Sheyakhah Oula, Qism Aswan
Dock at the Nubian Village Aswan Egypt

Places to Stay:

  • Rent a houseboat for an authentic river experience, available on most short-term rental sites like Airbnb or VRBO 
  • Citymax aqua park Hotel Aswan has a water park with awesome water slides sure to delight the whole family!
  • Artika Wadi Kiki Hotel is, a super cute Instagram-worthy bungalow with a sand beach, truly stunning and cozy at the same time, great for couples or friend trips
  • Cataract Hotel, for mystery lovers, The Death of the Nile by Agatha Christie was written here. You can see the landscapes she was describing in the book. It’s a beautiful hotel, won’t disappoint. 

Nightlife:

There’s not much of nightlife in Aswan, it’s a pretty chill city, but the bigger hotels and restaurants offer a lounge vibe at night. Go somewhere that has a nice view and have a few drinks.

There are so many things to do in this area, we almost needed a separate blog just devoted to listing them.

Here are the best things to do in Aswan: 

  • The High Dam: Bordering Egypt and Sudan, is the world’s largest dam
  • Northern Quarry with Unfinished Obelisk: Most of the red granite used to build Egypt’s Temples came from these quarries, visiting the quarries gives you a sense of the manpower, strength, and industry their society had thousands of years ago. While there, take a side trip to Fatimid Cemetery.
  • Fatimid Cemetery: amid the modern graves lies a treasure of graves unique to southern Egypt, dating from the 9th century, these graves have unique horn-like protrusions and the local saint’s tombs have beautiful colorful flags, definitely worth a 45min side trip to see if you’re already at the unfinished obelisk.
  • Temple of Philae: On the island of Agilkia, this beautiful temple dates back to 380 BC. erected to honor the goddess Isis.
  • Felucca ride on the Nile, sail around Aswan’s Botanical Gardens, this is a great activity for a private trip, that way you can stop and get photos and ask questions, don’t miss the small vendors on the docks, great bargains can be found here!
  • Abu Simbel: this is a day trip, to visit the site of two temples built by the Egyptian king Ramses II, The Great Temple, for Ramses, and The Small Temple, for the goddess Hathor and Queen Nefertari. Fun fact: twice a year, on February 21st and October 21st, the sun illuminates the statues of Ramesses and Amun, what a sight to behold!
  • Visit a Nubian village, they’re so colorful, you’ll be snapping photos and shopping and just have a blast!
  • The Nubian Museum, Nubia is the region between Aswan and Khartoum, the “Land of Gold”, the Nubians ruled Egypt for a century, there’s a rich history that will blow your mind. (Hint: the beginning of modern luxury goods)
  • Elephantine Island – the name comes from a combination of elephant and ivory, with a few UNESCO world heritage sites, temples, Nubian village remnants, and other awesome historical finds like ancient irrigation and a history of exotic trade and defense of the area, complete with fortress remain, this is a quick day trip to make! While there, take a quick felucca trip over to:
  • Aswan Botanical Gardens: a small island (Kitchener, named after a former commander of the Egyptian Army that loved gardens) with lovely trees and makes a great picnic area and place to stroll. 

Egypt has a way of making you appreciate magic and mythology in ways you may not have before. Seeing the temples, statues, carvings, and paintings, and learning of the rich history and great minds’ creations. The magic comes when you begin to comprehend the general architecture, manpower, singular focus, and devotion needed to create these incredible temples, churches, etc. Aswan is a great place to see all of these things in one area. You can go to Egypt and not see this area, but I truly recommend that you take the time to spend at least one day here.

Let us know if you have anything to add in the comments, or if this was helpful for your travels to Aswan, Egypt!

Ready for your dream to Egypt? Read more about Egypt Here:

Top Places to Visit in Cairo – Ultimate Solo Female Travelers Guide to Egypt

xoxo,
Michi & Nico